Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Deerhunter - Weird Era

My copy of Deerhunter’s Microcastle came with a bonus disc, Weird Era Cont. I spun Microcastle a few times, fell in love with it, and in the heat of said passion wrote the review that I posted yesterday. Glorious Noise posted the review, but I never followed it up with a mention of Weird Era.
True story: I went months before I even remembered the disc was in there.
Can you blame me? We live in an era where bonus discs are a normal occurrence and an even rarer event is when said bonus discs are worth a damn.
Weird Era is not that kind of bonus disc. In fact, it rivals the legitimate release at some points. It’s an album-in the truest sense of the word-that I would have accepted as the actual follow-up to Cryptograms if it were released instead of Microcastle. Since it wasn’t, and since Microcastle is so good, you can only view Weird Era as the leftover disc, a collection of songs that may pale somewhat when compared to it’s more notorious brother but a collection of such decency that you’re actually shocked at how good it is and thankful that it was included in the package.
Trust me: for $15 (or whatever I paid for it) it’s a bargain and because I originally forgot that I had it for two months, discovering it made the value even more noticeable for me; it was like I just stumbled on to a new, awesome record and didn’t have to pay for it.
Less structured than Microcastle, Weird Era is a compendium of soundscapes, ranging from primitive, low-fi distortion to eerily beautiful ambient pieces. Vocals are a rare commodity, and when they’re present, the vocals are soaked in reverb or other treatments making them another element of the musical texture than as a focal point.
What we are witnessing with head hunter Bradford Cox is a creative peak that shows no sign of letting up or diminishing in value. It will at some point-of course-but when it does, the “throwaways” like the Fluorescent Grey e.p. and Weird Era will become more pronounced as shining moments in Deerhunter’s catalog when the band was releasing high points at a fantastically rapid rate.

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